ARC sees 200 yachts on start line
Two hundred and eleven yachts crossed the line for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2008 (ARC) at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, on 24 November 2008. The 23rd ARC Rally for Cruisers in which yachts cruise 2,670nm to Rodney Bay, St.Lucia, saw yachtsmen from 21 different nations entering.
The sea surface had a slight swell running after two days of gentle north easterlies, but the north-easterly 10 – 15 knot breeze meant more crews than usual were hoisting spinnakers.
Winds are expected to remain from the north-east with light tradewind conditions likely to establish themselves, offering the prospect of a steady passage to St. Lucia, with a recommendation at this stage to stay south of the rhumb line route. The good weather meant a wonderful sight for the hundreds of spectators watching afloat and ashore.
Starting 20 minutes ahead of the main fleet, the 24 yachts competing in the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) IRC Racing Division were all tight on the line and enjoying the excellent breeze. Sticking to the Island end of the start line, the French flagged Grand Soleil 37, Eärendil, skippered by Pierre Caillault crossed in first position, followed by Croatian Damir Repac, in his Beneteau Frist 47.7 Geisha, and John Shepard’s Kerr 46, Fair Do’s VII.
However, it is the mass of cruising yachts that creates the spectacle, and a few minutes before the scheduled 13:00 start of the ARC 2008 Cruising Divisions, there was a forest of masts and sails surrounding the committee vessel – the Spanish Naval Vessel Grosa. Spirit of Lusitânia, Joaquim Fortunato’s Beneteau 57 looked impressive as they crossed the line first, followed by Alessandro Mosconi’s Solaris 0, Gianba.
Three yachts remained in Las Palmas due to a variety of mechanical or equipment problems. All three – Sundowner, Juno and Tom B – are hoping to leave today.